Cultural Identities are difficult. They are specially complicated if you have lived in five different countries. have close family in at least four.  people in last five generations of your family have immigrated to other countries. And your ancestry chart looks like a UN list of delegates.

I am constantly asked “where are you from?” If I say “America” then the question that follows is “where are you originally from” and the answer to that is also America. The question that they are really asking is “what is your ethnicity”. I generally find that a difficult question to answer because my ancestry goes from UK to Spain to Italy to Turkey to Central Asia to Middle East to Afghanistan to Iran to the Sub Continent and then back to England and the US. So the simple answer to that question is I am a global citizen and I have global ethnicity. I am one of those rare breed of human for whom DNA test in inconclusive.

The more interesting then DNA though is the cultural norms in my family. The most interesting display of them is at the weddings. The weddings in my family are unique. They are a mix of the various cultures that are found in my genes. One thing I can say about my ancestors is that they loved singing and dancing, and good food and wine. They also seriously loved partying.

Our weddings are at least 10-12 days. No, they are not Indian or Pakistani weddings. Even though, there are a number of traditions that are borrowed from them. However, there are equally something borrowed and something blue from other cultures.

The wedding dress is almost always red, except at the time of “official ceremony” when the bride wears white. There is cinnamon cake (spain), baklava (turkey/arab/persian) and Indian sweets. We set up a Sofreya Aghd. The shoes are signed. There is a henna night. There is also the bridal shower/hen night/bachelor party.

The weddings in my family always make me smile as they remind me how easy it is to assimilate into cultures and adopt the things that are important to us and give up the rest. The fun, the food and merriment – the ingredient list for happiness.